Face-to-face hypnotherapy sessions are perhaps amongst the most well-known forms of hypnotherapy, however, there are many other types of hypnotherapy available to you - as well as different ways of delivering sessions.
Online hypnotherapy can be delivered through a video chat platform, pre-recorded sessions sent by email, or sessions delivered by telephone call. Your hypnotherapist may also provide guidance on self-hypnosis techniques, how they work, and how they can support you between virtual sessions and beyond.
But what can you expect from an online hypnotherapy session, how does it work, and more importantly - is it as effective as traditional, in-person hypnotherapy sessions?
What’s the difference between hypnotherapy, self-hypnosis, and hypnosis?
Generally speaking, when someone talks about hypnotherapy, they are referring to the therapeutic use of hypnosis to help someone overcome a specific problem or issue in their life. This could be something tangible, like helping them to quit smoking, lose weight, or drink less alcohol. It could also refer to helping someone change negative thought patterns or reactions that could be adversely affecting them, such as boosting their self-esteem or decreasing their anxiety levels.
Hypnosis is the process of inducing a trance to help promote communication between your conscious and subconscious mind, either by yourself (through self-hypnosis) or with the help of a hypnotherapist (through hypnotherapy).
Self-hypnosis is the process of putting yourself in a self-induced hypnotic state, to help reinforce new, positive habits, change your outlook, and create lasting change.
How does online hypnotherapy work?
In many ways, online hypnotherapy works just the same as face-to-face sessions with a hypnotherapist. If it’s your first time working with a new hypnotherapist, you may have an initial chat or a short conversation before your first session to discuss what you are struggling with, any specific problems or behaviours you hope to change, and what you hope to get from hypnotherapy.
Typically, your hypnotherapist will talk through what methods they plan to use, to help give you a better idea of what to expect. Most sessions help lead you into a deep state of relaxation, which then allows the hypnotherapist to make positive suggestions about different ways you can handle a particular situation, issue, change your automatic reaction or negative behaviour.
As with all types of hypnotherapy, how quickly it works for you - and how long those initial results last - can vary from person to person. You may see positive changes straight away, or it may take a series of sessions for these new ideas to take hold and start showing results. Reinforcing these new, positive ideas by using self-hypnosis techniques between sessions can help them to take hold and have a more lasting effect.
Advanced cognitive hypnotherapist Brenda Cox explains, “Nearly every single hypnosis technique can be used online via Skype or FaceTime. Many can also be used via a normal phone line. There may be some specific hypnosis techniques or problems that your therapist may not want to work with online. They may recommend working face to face, or perhaps a combination of online and face to face sessions.”
There is no difference in the effectiveness of online hypnotherapy. You may even feel more relaxed and comfortable working from the safety of your own home - which can only have a positive effect.
- Advanced cognitive hypnotherapist Brenda Cox explains more about online hypnotherapy.
Online and telephone sessions with an experienced hypnotherapist are tailored to your individual needs and situation, just as in-person sessions would be. But how is online hypnotherapy different?
For many people, it’s more convenient. Rather than taking time out of your day to commute to a hypnotherapist’s office, online hypnotherapy allows you to attend sessions remotely, from the comfort of your own home. For those with mobility issues, in areas with unreliable public transport, or who live in a more remote area where there may be fewer options to choose from, remote sessions offer more choice, convenience, and less hassle.
By working with an online hypnotherapist, you can:
- Choose to work with an experienced hypnotherapist, no matter where their location. Rather than being limited to a specific area, you can widen your parameters to look for support based on the type of hypnosis offered, their personal experience, or based on which hypnotherapist appeals to you.
- Save money and time on travel and transport.
- Select a time that is more convenient for you. Many online hypnotherapists offer evening and weekend sessions, as well as appointments during lunch breaks. Without the additional time needed for travel, this can open up more possibilities.
- Ease feelings of worry or anxiety. If you are particularly nervous about opening up to someone and seeking help for what you are struggling with, familiar surroundings can offer a level of comfort and sense of control that may help you feel more at ease.
However, by working with an online hypnotherapist, there are areas you may need to consider. These include, but aren’t limited to:
- Is your internet connection stable enough? If you have patchy reception, a weak connection, or frequently experience outages with your service, sessions may experience interruptions which could have a serious impact.
- Do you have enough space to have peace and quiet for the duration of your session? Interruptions from your partner, children, pets, or even noisy neighbours may risk breaking you out of your state of deep relaxation. Do you have a spare room where you could have your online sessions in privacy, or could you book your sessions when you know no-one else will be home?
- Would you benefit from working with someone who knows your local area? Depending on what issues or problems you are looking to overcome, would your hypnotherapist knowing more about your local area have any benefits for you?
What can online hypnotherapy help with?
Hypnotherapy can be used to help with a wide range of problems and challenges, as well as to treat some conditions. While many people may find hypnotherapy can and has helped them with a broad range of conditions and problems, in some instances, more research is still needed to back these up. According to current research and guidelines, conditions and issues hypnotherapy may be able to help with include:
- Relieving anxiety and promoting relaxation.
- Assisting with sleep.
- Reducing bedwetting.
- Improving confidence and self-esteem.
- Helping with symptoms exacerbated by stress, such as minor skin conditions.
- Assisting with eating problems.
- Reducing and managing perceived pain (such as through hypnobirthing).
Overcoming negative behaviours can also be an area where some people find hypnotherapy to be particularly helpful. For example, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake, or facing gambling problems, however research is divided on the success.
What can’t online hypnotherapy help with?
If you have been diagnosed with psychosis or certain types of personality disorder, the NHS recommends you do not try hypnotherapy, as it may make your condition worse. If in doubt, speak with your GP before exploring your options. They should also be able to advise if hypnotherapy may be available on the NHS, though this isn’t usually the case. Your local CCG (clinical commissioning group) should also have information available.
Is online hypnotherapy right for me?
Only you can decide what method of seeking help is right for you. As with all forms of help and support, what works best for one person may not be as effective for another. The most important factor is that you are researching, reaching out, and seeking help. Recognising that you have a problem or issue that you need help or support with is the first step.
If you are still unsure of what kind of hypnotherapy to try, keep in mind:
- Online, telephone, and in-person hypnotherapy offer the same levels of confidentiality. Your sessions are private. If your sessions are taking place remotely via video or voice call, your hypnotherapist will choose a secure platform. However, you will need to keep in mind anyone in your household who may be able to overhear or interrupt your sessions.
- Your comfort levels. Does travelling to a new place make you feel anxious or uncomfortable? Would you feel more comfortable and relaxed in your own space? Or are face-to-face conversations easier for you than telephone calls?
- You may find it trickier to feel a connection or build rapport with your hypnotherapist through purely online sessions.
- Convenience. Do you have a busy schedule that makes it tricky to block out several hours for a session? Is public transport unreliable, or are you a nervous driver? If so, online sessions could cut down on your commute time, stress, and costs.
- Your situation. Do you have a stable internet connection?
No matter what kind of hypnotherapy you decide to try, it’s good to remember that you can change your mind. If you do not ‘click’ with a hypnotherapist, a type of hypnotherapy, or a method of delivery, it’s OK to try something new. You aren’t locked in to just one way of accessing help.
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